Tell me about Vibram Five-Fingers "shoes"

Inspired by this thread.

Vibram Five-Fingers are shoes (sort of) that basically provide protection from ground hazards such as stones, while letting you walk / run / etc essentially barefoot.

As every time I’ve fallen, I’ve been wearing shoes, it seems like going barefoot is pretty much a no-brainer for me. And around the house, this is what I do. But for going outside the house, barefoot isn’t too healthy. I’m very, VERY tempted by these.

Anyone ever tried 'em?

Clearly they wouldn’t do for the office, but for nearly everything else, I could just ignore the stares.

Not much of a data point, but one of my running friends swears by them.

You might want to check out bearfoot hiking for general outdoor bare footing and probably talk about those shoes as vibram is common in hiking.

Didn’t we just do a thread on these about 6 weeks ago? Try in the Game Room, I think.

I have a pair of KSO (“Keep Shit/Stuff Out”). I feel noticeably less fatigued at the end of a standard trail hike wearing them, but that may be due to the fact that they weigh much less than my conventional boots. But I definitely feel next-day stiffness in my calf muscles more than usual, and land on the balls of my feet instead of my heels, as claimed by the manufacturer.

Yup, it was in MPSIMS. Great thread too! I got a lot of great information from it, including learning about the Born to Run book which I started to listen to and is fun.

Ah - somehow I missed that thread. Off to devour it now - thanks!

I bought a pair. I’m not sold on them yet. I have only run in them about 6 times.

I am not against them either. I just am not convinced that they are the best thing ever. I will keep using them for a while.

Intrigued by the idea of bare-foot running, I went to try on a pair last fall.

Unfortunately, my toes are freakishly short in proportion to my actual foot size. As a result, there was no way they were going to work for me. Imagine what your hands would feel like if you got a pair of gloves with 5" long fingers (the fabric in between the fingers of the glove digging into your flesh). The idea of having fabric rammed into the fleshy part between my toes every step for miles and miles was not appealing.

Though not a real data point for general acceptance of the product, there is a certain aspect to fit that you don’t normally encounter with shoes.

I was kinda disappointed, because I really wanted (and still do) to try barefoot running.

They don’t come in size 15.

The aforementioned thread that Heffalump and Roo linked to is what finally got me to spring for a pair. If you run or have any desire to run, I would recommend Born to Run as well. It’s a great read with lots of good information on running in general.

I just received my pair of Vibrams sometime late last week so I’ve only been on one short run with it, but I like it so far. The style I got was a Sprint. I’m taking it a bit slowly since I’m out of shape and I’ve heard that working out too fast in these shoes may cause some muscle soreness or damage. I did notice more tension in my soleus muscles and the lack of cushioning for the heels can hurt if you accidentally revert back to running like you’re in Nikes. The pain is a good auto-correct for better form though.

Just a word of caution though, if you want to buy a pair, try it out first! Vibrams won’t be a good fit for people with abnormally large or small toes. I had to go up a size due to one of my pinky toes being squished rather uncomfortably.

I’ve wanted to get these because I’ve always preferred toe-running and toe-walking. If I don’t pay attention, I’ll walk around with my heels slightly off the ground when I wear ballet flats. :slight_smile:

They definitely seem to be something to try on first instead of ordering online, though.

I have a pair of sprints and I do all my running in them now. It took a few weeks to get used to, but now I run a 5k in them three times a week. I also use them for working out. I find that they provide excellent balance when doing leg work (such as squats and calf raises). So I can’t recommend them enough for weight training.

As for running, I’ve gotten used to them and they are fun. Lighter on the feet and they seem to place the stress more on the muscle then on my joints, but that could just be because that’s what I expect.

I think I’m going to switch back to my regular running shoes. While these are lighter on my feet and my legs are less fatigued, it seems like I’m getting tendonitis in my achilles heel on the right side. I went through that last summer and I don’t want to do so again.

Those look awesome!

Do you have fat toes or long ones? I have unbelievably long toes so this is a concern.

I have the KSOs. They’re a joy to run in, though I do try to limit my pavement running. I actually wouldn’t recommend them for running/hiking in the woods because the rubber really doesn’t shield your foot if you step on a loose stone or root.

Normal(ish) toes here as far as I can tell. I do have other foot problems of course, but the main concern is that I naturally pronate, and have orthotics to correct that, and I think that may lead me to overcompensate, hence the rolling outward and sprained ankles.

I’ll definitely try before I buy. REI appears to carry them and there’s one not too far from my office.

Oh, and I won’t be running in them, just walking… there are numerous reasons why running isn’t the right exercise for me.

I got mine (KSOs) at REI. I was one of about 8 people trying them on, all of us walking around the store & the climbing path & staring at our feet.

If you do get them, be prepared to spend a lot of time talking about your shoes. People will notice and they will ask about them. (Overall, I like them. I wear them everywhere, except for running/exercise. I think, once it’s warmer, I’ll wear them even more.)

Same dealie for me except different, both my second and third toes are longer than my big toes. As a result, my big toe wasn’t making it into its lil toe mitten thingie, leaving a floppy, pitifully empty toe mitten sticking out the end.

Wah. I really wanna give these a try, as I have very weak ankles and I have read that these will strengthen them up but good.